Jesus’ Compassion Inspires

46% of Millennials said Jesus’ compassion for those in need is his most captivating characteristic.

 A little over a month ago I was in a conversation with a woman named Melissa.  Melissa is a 26-year-old college graduate working in the field of marketing and working toward the completion of her MBA.

As a young “up and comer” Melissa said going to church wasn’t as important to her as her career.  So, instead of making time for worship services or other church activities in her week, Melissa said her time was more importantly spent “learning all that she could about marketing.”  To that end, Melissa volunteers her time (sometimes up to 20 hrs a week) to a local non-profit.  According to Melissa, by the time her week is over she has no time left for church.

I asked Melissa, “What would a church have to be like in order for you to consider it important enough to make time in your week to attend?”  Melissa responded by saying, “I would go to a church who could make Jesus real to me.”  We continued our conversation about what it meant for Jesus to “be made real” to her.  In the end, she needed to see that a church was as compassionate as she has heard Jesus is.  We finished our conversation with her challenging me to ask other millennials, “What is it about Jesus’ life that captures your imagination the most?”  So, thanks to Melissa, we surveyed 800 millennials who they said that the most captivating characteristic in Jesus’ life is:

  • Jesus’ ability to tell stories – 9%

  • Jesus’ leadership – 9%

  • Jesus’ compassion for those in need – 46%

  • Jesus’ death on the cross – 19%

  • Jesus’ resurrection from the dead – 18%

Three key insights emerge from this set of data.  (1) If you want to reach and engage millennials be sure you are teaching on Jesus’ commitment to heal the sick and suffering, feed the poor and neglected, bring mercy to the oppressed and to free the captives.  (2) If you want to reach and engage millennials work tirelessly to create a culture in your church where people value works of compassion and mercy and where your commitment is tangible.  (3) Connect the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus to the compassion that millennials desire to embrace.  We think that if you can inspire millennials toward the good in the world that comes as a result of Jesus atoning work on the cross and the subsequent victory over death, millennials’ interest will be piqued and their imaginations fired.

For other insights feel free to reach out to us at  Join the conversation at @thinkburlap on Twitter.